Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Bush and Providence Fine op-ed in The New York Times today, by Jackson Lears. He discusses the various ways American politicians have used religious rhetoric to win popular support for their agendas. He argues convincingly that Bush's overuse of such rhetoric does more harm than good.

One argument against our impending war with Iraq is the danger of having it appear that we are beginning a new Crusade. If this is seen as a war of Christianity against Islam, one consequence could be a massive increase in anti-American sentiment, with a corresponding increase in acts of terrorism. The administration's hawks downplay this fear. But with Bush invoking Christian rhetoric in nearly every public speech on this subject, people wishing to vew our forthcoming intervention as a religious war have plenty of ammunition for doing so. In this country Bush's extravagant religiosity scores him high marks, even in secular publications like Newsweek (who recently did a laudatory cover story on "Bush and God"). Overseas, it only contributes to anti-American sentiment.

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